Teen Endangerment: Two-Parent Notice for Abortion
These are dangerous measures that can threaten teens’ health and safety.
Senate Bill 106 and House Bill 127 create additional administrative barriers beyond the existing one-parent consent requirement before anyone under the age of 18 may get an abortion. They require the consenting parent to notify the other custodial parent in writing prior to an abortion.
We all want our teens to be safe. Planned Parenthood strongly encourages teens to talk with their parents about reproductive health, including abortion, and research shows most parents are involved in their teens’ abortion decisions. But in the real world, parental involvement is not an option for every teen, especially if they live in an abusive environment or are pregnant as a result of rape or incest.
Major medical groups oppose laws that endanger pregnant teens’ health and safety. Parental consent and notification laws are opposed by major medical groups including the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the American Public Health Association because research shows they do not increase parental involvement and do not foster healthy communication. In fact, these laws can be detrimental to pregnant teens’ health and safety because research shows such laws can delay access to services and/or force a teen to take measures into their own hands.
Unfortunately, not all teens come from homes where good family communication is possible. Most teens facing an unintended pregnancy do go to their parents. However, some teens face violent or abusive parents and do not feel safe talking to their parents about an unintended pregnancy. The state cannot legislate healthy family communication. This bill could cause scared teens to put their safety at risk and do something desperate that would endanger their health.
Senate Bill 106 and House Bill 127 could come between pregnant teens and the health care they need. These measures could cause medical care to be delayed, threatening teens’ health.
The Missouri Legislature should focus on ensuring our teens get sex education. Teens who receive sex education that is comprehensive and medically accurate are likelier to wait longer to have sex for the first time, and likelier to use contraception if and when they do. (Guttmacher)
Investing in sex education prevents unintended pregnancy and makes good fiscal sense. Unintended pregnancies cost U.S. families $21 billion a year. (Guttmacher) If we want our country to be fiscally responsible, we must invest in sex education and family planning services. If all teens were able to avoid unplanned pregnancy and childbearing, the U.S. could save an additional $1.9 billion each year. (The Campaign to Prevent Unplanned Pregnancy) For every dollar invested in family planning, taxpayers save approximately $7. (Guttmacher)